Game Preview: 2/15/21 vs. NY Islanders

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Sunday, January 31
New Jersey 5 at Buffalo 3
Goals: Lazar, Dahlin, Ristolainen
Goalie: Hutton (32 saves/36 shots); 1 ENG
PP: 2/4; PK: 3/3; Shots: New Jersey 37 – Buffalo 33

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 21)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 10 games
Dylan Cozens (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games
Curtis Lazar (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games
Jake McCabe (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games
Casey Mittelstadt (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games
Brandon Montour (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games
Rasmus Ristolainen (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
2/9: Reassigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/10: Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned F C.J. Smith from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/11: Reassigned F C.J. Smith from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/12: Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned F C.J. Smith from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/13: Reassigned F Steven Fogarty, F C.J. Smith and D Jacob Bryson from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/15: Recalled F Steven Fogarty, D William Borgen and D Brandon Davidson from the taxi squad; Reassigned F Rasmus Asplund and F Andrew Oglevie from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
Tuesday, Feb. 16: NY Islanders at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 18: Buffalo at Washington, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 20: Buffalo at New Jersey, 12:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 22: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 23: Buffalo at New Jersey, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
ISLANDERS at SABRES

  • This is the first of eight meetings between the Sabres and Islanders this season.
  • Last meeting: New York defeated Buffalo 3-2 (OT) in New York on Dec. 14, 2019.
  • Next meeting: Tuesday, Feb. 16 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Islanders; 4-5-1 at home.
  • This is the 174th game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 82-66-25 series record.
  • The Sabres are 46-29-12 at home against the Islanders all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 10-6-3 all-time on February 15.
  • February 15, 1984: Dave Andreychuk leads the Sabres with three points (0+3) in a 7-4 win against the Boston Bruins. Andreychuk recorded at least three points 70 times during his Sabres career and trails only Gilbert Perreault (111) for most games with at least three points as a member of the Sabres.
  • February 15, 2011: Jhonas Enroth becomes the first goaltender in NHL history to earn his first three career wins via the shootout with a 3-2 shootout win at Montreal.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Buffalo’s penalty kill is 15-for-16 (93.8%) in the team’s last nine games against the Islanders.
  • Victor Olofsson enters today’s game on a six-game point streak (2+5) that ties as the longest of his career.
  • The Sabres’ special teams are plus-8 this season, with 12 goals for and four goals against. Entering play Sunday, they were tied with the Boston Bruins for the second-best differential in the league, trailing only the Colorado Avalanche (plus-11).
  • Rasmus Dahlin’s 3.2 shots on goal per game ranked fifth among all NHL defensemen entering play Sunday.

OH MY GOD, WE’RE BACK AGAIN
The Sabres return to action tonight after a 14-day break since their last game, a 5-3 loss on Jan. 31 vs. New Jersey. The break is the fifth-longest in-season break in Sabres history and the team’s longest ever layoff that is not a result of an Olympic Break.

Longest Breaks Between Sabres Games (excludes first game of season)
Date Opponent Days Off Result Reason
2/25/2014 vs. Carolina 18 3-2 win Olympic Break
2/25/1998 vs. Toronto 17 2-2 tie Olympic Break
3/1/2006 vs. Atlanta 16 4-2 loss Olympic Break
3/2/2010 at Pittsburgh 16 3-2 loss Olympic Break
2/15/2021 vs. NY Islanders 14 TBD COVID-19
2/26/2002 at Atlanta 13 2-1 loss Olympic Break
4/12/1992 vs. Montreal 11 3-1 win 1992 NHLPA Strike
1/29/2019 at Columbus 10 5-4 win Bye Week/All-Star Break
2/14/1979 vs. NY Islanders 9 2-1 win All-Star Break (1979 Challenge Cup)
2/4/2011 at Pittsburgh 9 3-2 loss All-Star Break
1/28/2020 vs. Ottawa 9 5-2 loss Bye Week/All-Star Break
1/27/2015 at Calgary 8 4-1 loss All-Star Break
2/3/2016 at Montreal 7 4-2 win All-Star Break

HOT AGAINST NEW YORK

  • Taylor Hall has recorded 18 points (9+9) in 18 career games against the Islanders, including 10 (4+6) in 10 home games.
  • Jack Eichel has totaled 10 points (3+7) in his eight meetings with the Islanders since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
  • Colin Miller has recorded four points (1+3) in four games against the Islanders since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
  • Linus Ullmark is 3-1-1 in five career games against the Islanders with a .928 save percentage and a 1.98 goals-against average.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game opens Buffalo’s fourth of 12 sets of back-to-back games this season, which continues tomorrow night vs. NY Islanders. The Sabres are 2-1-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 0-3-0 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets is: four points (0), three points (0), two points (2), one point (0) and zero points (1).

DRAWING ATTENTION

  • Entering play Sunday, the Sabres ranked second in the NHL with a team faceoff percentage of 55.9 percent.
  • The Sabres joined the Anaheim Ducks (Ryan Getzlaf, Derek Grant, Sam Steel, Adam Henrique) as the only teams whose top four faceoff takers (Jack Eichel, Eric Staal, Cody Eakin and Riley Sheahan) all had a faceoff percentage of at least 50 percent entering play Sunday. All four Sabres are currently on pace for career-high faceoff percentages.
  • Eichel ranked fifth in in the NHL in faceoffs taken (21.3) and faceoffs won (11.6) per game before Sunday’s games.
  • Before Sunday’s games, Sheahan ranked second among all players with at least 30 faceoffs taken this season with a win percentage of 65.2 percent (45-for-69).

POWER UP

  • Buffalo entered play Sunday with the sixth-ranked power play in the league. The team has scored on 12 of its 39 power play opportunities this season for a 30.8 percent conversion rate.
  • The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in each of their last five games, going 9-for-22 (40.9%) in those contests.
  • Entering play Sunday, the Sabres led the NHL with nine different players with at least one goal on the power play. Their 10 players with at least one power-play point this season tied for seventh-most in the league.
  • Victor Olofsson leads the team with three power-play goals and entered play Sunday tied for 10th in the league with eight power-play points this season. His 16 career power-play tallies trailed only David Pastrnak (22) and Leon Draisaitl (20) for the most in the league since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019.

KILLING IT

  • Entering play Sunday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 5:30 of penalty time per game. At plus-16 (42 drawn/26 taken), the Sabres also had the best penalty differential in the league.
  • The Sabres have killed 13 of their last 14 penalties to improve to 82.6 percent on the penalty kill this season, ranking 10th in the NHL entering play Sunday.
  • Through 10 games, Buffalo has allowed just four power-play goals against. Entering play Sunday, the team ranked third in the NHL with .40 power-play goals against per game.
  • In the Sabres’ last game on Jan. 31 vs. New Jersey, the penalty kill went 3-for-3 and did not surrender a single shot on goal in 5:09 of shorthanded time.

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen a positive trend at even strength through the team’s first nine games of the season. So far, Buffalo’s 5-on-5 numbers have improved on the team’s per-60 rates from last season in several meaningful categories, including shot differential, shot attempt differential, scoring chance differential, high-danger scoring chance differential and expected goal differential.

Buffalo Sabres at 5-on-5 (via NaturalStatTrick.com as of 2/14)
SF% CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
2019-20 48.13 (23rd) 49.13 (19th) 48.73 (20th) 48.19 (25th) 47.56 (25th)
2020-21 49.68 (17th) 50.86 (11th) 51.33 (12th) 54.78 (7th) 51.11 (16th)

Through 10 games this season, the team has led its opponent at 5-on-5 in…

  • shots: four times
  • shot attempts: six times
  • scoring chances: seven times
  • high-danger scoring chances: eight times
  • expected goals: eight times

BRICK WALL

  • Linus Ullmark stopped all three shooters in Buffalo’s last shootout on Jan. 30 vs. New Jersey to improve to 2-1 with nine saves on 10 attempts this season.
  • Ullmark is 6-3 in shootouts in his career with 30 saves on 35 career shots faced (.857). His six career shootout wins rank him third in franchise history behind Ryan Miller (49) and Jhonas Enroth (10).
  • Entering play Sunday, Ullmark’s shootout save percentage of .857 ranked second all-time among NHL goaltenders with at least 20 shots faced and first among active NHL goalies.

STAAL-TIME LEADERS

  • Eric Staal scored his 439th career goal on Jan. 30 vs. New Jersey to pass Gary Roberts and improve to 68th on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. His next goal will tie Rick Tocchet for 67th.
  • Among active players, Staal’s total of 439 career regular-season goals trails only Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Marleau, and Sidney Crosby.
  • The goal was Staal’s 1,026th career point, breaking a tie with Patrik Elias for 82nd-most in NHL history. He is two points behind Brian Leetch for 81st.

WE LIKE EICH

  • Jack Eichel’s 11 points (2+9) through 10 games tie as his second-best start to a season, trailing only his 14 points (6+8) in the first 10 games of the 2019-20 season.
  • Eichel’s goal on Jan. 28 vs. NY Rangers moved him past Jochen Hecht for sole possession of the 19th-most goals in franchise history (139). He now trails Drew Stafford by six goals for 18th.
  • Eichel’s career per-game output ranks in the franchise’s top 15 in every major scoring category (min. 82 GP): .38 G/GP (14th), .57 A/GP (10th), .96 PTS/GP (11th)

RISTO IN THE RECORD BOOK

  • With his goal on Jan. 15 vs. Washington, Rasmus Ristolainen broke a tie with Bill Hajt for the 10th-most goals by a defenseman in Sabres history. He now trails Tyler Myers and Jim Schoenfeld by one goal for eighth-most.
  • Ristolainen’s first assist on Jan. 24 at Washington moved him past Jim Schoenfeld for the seventh-most career points recorded by a Sabres defenseman. He currently trails Bill Hajt by 11 points for sixth-most.
  • Ristolainen holds the franchise record for most overtime goals by a defenseman (4) and is tied for ninth all-time among the team’s blueliners with six game-winning goals.
  • Ristolainen’s career per-game output ranks him among the franchise’s top 15 defensemen in every major scoring category (min. 82 GP): .09 G/GP (14th), .38 A/GP (12th), .46 PTS/GP (11th)

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 2/14 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 55.9% FOW% (2nd), 32.2 S/GP (2nd), 30.8% PP% (6th), 82.6 PK% (10th)
  • Olofsson: 8 PPP (T-10th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (35), Lazar (25), Miller (18)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (13), Ristolainen (13), Montour (12)
Shots: Eichel (39), Dahlin (32), Olofsson (30)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10: 4-4-2 (10), 30/32, 12/39, 19/23

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 126-135 all-time)
Jan. 28 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GDG-Lafrenière)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (2-1; 79-72 all-time)
Jan. 22 at.WSH: L, 4-3 (GDG-Carlson)
Jan. 24 at WSH: W, 4-3 (GDG-Eichel)
Jan. 30 vs. NJD: W, 4-3 (GDG-Eichel)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Cody Eakin … 4 games … 600 career games played
Curtis Lazar … 6 games … 300 career games played
Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 goal … 45 career goals (T-8th in franchise history, defensemen)
Kyle Okposo … 4 goals … 200 career goals
Assists
Riley Sheahan … 1 assist … 100 career assists
Points
Brandon Montour … 7 points … 100 career points
Wins
Carter Hutton … 6 wins … 100 career wins 

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

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